What Does a Ward Clerk Do? With Roles, Skills and Salary

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Administrative professionals conduct vital tasks that contribute to the smooth running of a clinical facility. Candidates who enjoy fast-paced working environments that require multitasking and interactions with patients and their families may find a fulfilling career as a ward clerk working alongside doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Understanding what a ward clerk does can help you develop the necessary skills to secure employment and succeed in the profession. In this article, we explore what a ward clerk does, provide their average salary, list essential skills and discuss useful certifications.

What does a ward clerk do?

Understanding the answer to the question, 'What does a ward clerk do?' requires an analysis of their daily responsibilities and working conditions. A ward clerk is an administrative professional who typically works at a desk within a hospital ward. They conduct the primary administrative duties, such as admitting patients, contacting their families, following up on test results and processing medical records. These professionals also play an important customer service role within a hospital and typically answer general enquiries from customers, such as patients' visitors.

Ward clerks are usually the first point of contact within a hospital, so they direct visitors and staff to the patient's department or ward. They may spend a lot of their time acting as a point of contact between a patient and their family and ensuring the family receives regular updates regarding the patient's condition. Most ward clerks work within hospitals, but they can also work in other medical institutions, such as specialist facilities and private hospitals.

Related: 19 Jobs in the Hospital for You to Explore

Ward clerk job responsibilities

Below are a few of the ward clerk's responsibilities:

Answering emails and phone calls

Ward clerks primarily perform general administrative duties during their workday. This consists of answering emails and making phone calls to different departments. Another essential duty is booking the patients in for tests, scans and other treatments during their stay.

Processing patient information

Processing patient information refers to the input of data into a medical records system. Ward clerks can do this electronically via specific software, or they may read through a large medical file for a patient. This provides the doctors and medical staff with the patient's history and likely course of treatment.

Updating close contacts

Hospitals may admit patients due to an emergency or unexpected transfer. This means that their close contacts may not be aware of their current whereabouts or their well-being. To work with this, ward clerks may update close contacts on the patient's situation, including their symptoms, planned treatment and the length of their stay in hospital.

Booking services for patients

If a patient requires transport to another medical facility, ward clerks typically make the booking on their behalf. Booking services for the client may also include blood tests or scans that doctors ordered. This is a vital component of delivering exemplary customer service to the patient.

Related: What is Administrative Work? (With Examples)

Ward clerk's average salary

The national average salary of a ward clerk is $57,429 per year. A ward clerk's average salary can differ based on several factors, including the type of hospital they work in. For example, the salary of a ward clerk working in a private specialist hospital may differ from that of a ward clerk working in a nationalised public hospital.

Ward clerks may also work in shift patterns, meaning they can work additional shifts, such as nights or weekends, to increase their pay. Their location may also make a significant difference to the amount that ward clerks make based on the differences in the cost of living and the state of the healthcare system in each region. Here are some example salaries:

  • Queensland: $52,560 per year

  • South Australia: $60,947 per year

  • Tasmania: $38,096 per year

  • Western Australia: $63,493 per year

  • Victoria: $34,580 per year

  • New South Wales: $56,424 per year

Ward clerk skills

Ward clerks use a mixture of hard and soft skills to perform their daily tasks. These skills help them manage large quantities of patient data while simultaneously interacting with the patients and visitors and maintaining a friendly, customer-oriented environment. Referring to these skills in your resume can improve your chances of securing a ward clerk role, as hiring managers may match you to the job description.

Hard skills

Hard skills are the industry-specific skills that candidates require when fulfilling their responsibilities. These skills ensure candidates can input data into computer systems, liaise with customers and remain highly organised throughout their workday. Hiring managers may list these skills as minimum expectations of candidates before they consider their applications for the next stages of the hiring process. Here are some hard skill examples:

  • Administrative capabilities: Ward clerks spend a lot of their time conducting administrative duties, such as processing patient records, organising appointments and contacting family members on behalf of the patients. Administrative capabilities allow professionals to protect patient data and safely handle their private information and also conduct their duties with confidence, which allows them to interact positively with people they don't know.

  • Multitasking: Ward clerks may handle many patient files simultaneously whilst answering emails, directing visitors and taking orders from hospital staff. Effective multitasking helps ward clerks remain organised and avoid undue pressure.

  • Data entry: Ward clerks may operate customer management software that remotely handles patient data. This requires comprehensive data entry skills to ensure they input accurate data and also ensure there are no security breaches whilst they access private information.

  • Customer service: When directing patients and their families around the facility, ward clerks use their customer service skills. Customer service skills allow ward clerks to approach customers with kindness, answer their questions with care and remain empathetic to their circumstances.

  • Computer literacy: These professionals may conduct their primary duties on computers. This means they require confident computer skills to make orders, send emails quickly, contact other departments in a hospital and troubleshoot minor technical issues.

Related: What is a Data Entry Job? (With FAQs and Types)

Soft skills

Soft skills are general employability skills that combine interpersonal skills and personality traits to enable candidates to promote positive relationships with their colleagues and customers, such as the medical staff, patients and visitors. Candidates develop these skills with practice and become more comfortable over time with working collaboratively, organising their work and communicating with staff and patients. Here are some examples of soft skills that are useful for ward clerks:

  • Written and verbal communication skills: Ward clerks require confident communication skills to ensure they clearly convey their message to the recipient, particularly when sending emails and letters on behalf of staff and patients. It also helps them make referrals to other departments on the behalf of medical professionals.

  • Collaboration skills: Ward clerks may work as part of a small team at a hospital desk. Collaboration skills allow professionals to delegate tasks evenly and motivate each other to succeed.

  • Time management: These professionals may complete several tasks within a designated time frame. This means they practise effective time management skills to ensure they complete each task to a high standard during a workday.

Useful certifications for ward clerks

Ward clerks may not require formal education and may find employment with skill and experience alone. Despite this, candidates with additional certifications may increase their salary expectations and career opportunities with increased expertise and industry-specific knowledge. Here are two certifications that may be useful for ward clerk candidates:

Certificate III in Health Administration

Pursuing a certification in health administration is beneficial for candidates wishing to become more confident in using medical terminology. This Technical and Further Education (TAFE) certification offers candidates a comprehensive course covering topics such as catering to patients with physical and mental disabilities, how to comply with security and infection prevention policies and how to develop critical administrative skills. This certification may enable candidates to provide more extensive services, such as assisting doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants with making orders for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.

Understanding how to cater specifically to those with unique needs is also a useful skill that transfers across many industries and can improve your career prospects. Candidates with this certification may also be eligible for careers such as healthcare assistant, support worker, admissions clerk and clinical coding checker.

Certificate III in Business (Medical Administration)

Obtaining this certificate equips candidates with an in-depth knowledge on catering to patients in a medical environment. Through a combination of coursework and practical experience, candidates learn how to abide by strict privacy guidelines and how to enforce patient confidentiality in administrative services. Candidates also learn how to process medical accounts and cater to a diverse set of patients from different backgrounds.

This certification allows candidates to develop their customer service skills and learn how to improve patient experience, which is vital to becoming a successful ward clerk. It also increases a candidate's career prospects and prepares them for positions such as a medical receptionist, healthcare customer service representative or administrative assistant. This certification enables candidates to develop crucial skills that may increase their value as a ward clerk and qualify them for more competitive benefits, such as higher pay and promotion.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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